Department of Ecology looking into leak at DOE site - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Department of Ecology looking into leak at DOE site

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****Update*****

RICHLAND, Wash. --    The Department of Energy has answered some of our questions regarding a leak report at a Hanford facility.

The DOE is disputing reports from several of our sources claiming there's a crack in a concrete radioactive waste container at the central waste complex.  The written response says the leak in question is likely just melted snow.

There is currently an investigation going on into what exactly the liquid is and where it came from.  NBC Right Now is still working on finding more answers to this story and we'll bring you an update when we know more.

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- NBC Right Now has learned there's been a leak at the Central Waste Complex site, a Department of Energy facility at Hanford.

A spokesperson from Washington State Department of Ecology Radioactive Waste Program has confirmed there was a radioactive reading found near  a concrete box containing radioactive waste.  It was  discovered on February 6th during a routine survey done by the Department of Energy.  It was reported to the Department of Ecology the very next day.

The Department of Ecology says the concrete container did have a crack and there has been a radioactive reading, but whether a substance actually leaked out of the box, and what it is, remains unknown.

The Department of Ecology is conducting an investigation to see what the substance is and how long it's been sitting out. In the meantime, DOE set up a buffer zone, not letting anyone within 30 feet of the area.

Department of Energy spokesperson Geoff Tyree says that DOE cannot confirm that there is a leak, and that DOE workers say they have not found a crack.  He adds that the material on the ground next to the container is not hazardous, and that workers are not exposed to it.

However, several workers who do not wish to be identified in the Department of Ecology and the Environmental Protection Agency say there is concern about the way these containers are being stored at the Central Waste Complex.

NBC Right Now has requested public records about previous leaks at the site, and we're looking into the way storage is being handled at the facility.

This is a developing story.

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